‘Nothing there’: Ex-Wallabies coach quashes shock return, surprise NRL gig

Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has pinpointed investment in coaching at Super Rugby level as the key to an international resurgence as he talked down chances of him returning to replace Eddie Jones.

Cheika, the current coach of Argentina, also said there was “nothing there” regarding links to the NRL’s West Tigers and said he wanted to be involved in the 2027 Rugby World Cup in Australia in ”one way or another”, with his immediate future tied to Los Pumas.

After guiding Argentina to the semi-finals at the World Cup in France, Cheika’s name has been linked to the role vacated by Jones even though another former Wallabies coach, Robbie Deans, said officials should never “go back”, as they did with Jones.

Cheika said he was all about “loyalty” and right now had nothing in his mind expect a short break before helping Argentina reset plans for the next World Cup.

He said he was “surprised” at how badly the Wallabies fared at the World Cup as they exited before the quarter-finals for the first time, which has sparked a review from Rugby Australia.

Michael Cheika is not considering a Wallabies return. Picture: Emmanuel Dunand / AFPSource: AFP

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But having also coached the NSW Waratahs to the Super Rugby title in 2014, a year before guiding the Wallabies to the World Cup final in 2015, Cheika said the importance of the best possible domestic coaching could not be understated when it came to having international success.

He said that was where the priorities should be for rugby officials as they look to rebuild from the wreckage Jones left behind.

“From my experiences, coming back to coach the Waratahs in 2013, we won Super Rugby in 2014, then we got to the World Cup final in 2015. I do believe that coaching at Super Rugby level is just as important as who is coaching the Wallabies team,” Cheika said.

“That is where the players are being prepared, that’s where it needs so much investment to make sure it’s going well.

“Once your players come to you (as an international coach), you are banking on that work being done of the teams leading in to you. That work, everyone looks at the top end, but the real changes in recent years (are) when we have had good World Cups off the back of Super Rugby teams doing well – the Reds leading into the 2011 World Cup, the Tahs in 2015.

“That success at provincial level inevitably leads to success at the international level.”

Cheika has also ruled out a role with NRL outfit Wests Tigers. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Despite the Wallabies’ woeful World Cup showing and the resultant fallout, Cheika was confident if officials “have a good plan and good people” things could turn around quickly.

“Hopefully, from this they’ll start to get a real understanding of the things that need attention to make the game, not just the Wallabies, get itself back on track. I am sure it will,” he told SEN.

“I know there is a lot of negativity around but it will. Without taking anything for granted, we are getting to a regime of understanding what’s required. Have a good plan and good people around and treat those people well, then things can happen.

“Things can turn around, you have to hold course and have a course to go to. That will be the next step, setting the course going forward.”

Source website: www.foxsports.com.au

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